Iowa caucus vote count drama: man says Santorum should have won

Iowa How They Did It

Charlie Riedel/AP

A Dec. 31, 2011 file photo Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, left, speaks during a campaign appearance in Knoxville, Iowa. In a Jan. 2, 2012 file photo Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop in Clive, Iowa.

Slip of paper with vote count

Edward L. True of Moulton, Iowa

The scrap of an envelope on which Edward L. True, of Moulton, Iowa, wrote the final tally for the Washington Wells precinct vote count for the 2012 Iowa caucus.


The drama of the Iowa caucus is not over yet. It was the closest Republican presidential contest in the state's history — Mitt Romney won with just eight votes. But one Iowa man, who helped count votes Tuesday night, has filed an affidavit saying the numbers were misreported. Instead, he says, according to the actual figures, Rick Santorum should have won.

Edward L. True, 28, of Moulton, Iowa, says Romney received 20 extra votes and Buddy Roemer received six votes he never got, according to the official figures reported by the state GOP. The results will not be certified for two weeks, Iowa GOP officials have said.

Lyle Brinegar, chairman of the Appanoose County GOP, told The Des Moines Register the numbers True reported are accurate.

True, who is self-employed, says he is a supporter of Ron Paul. He told KPCC in an interview he decided to take part in the caucus process for the first time this year to represent his Washington Wells precinct in Appanoose County. Afterward, True says he was asked to stay and help count ballots with two other people.

True copied the final tally for his own record, as a small piece of history on a scrap of paper torn off an envelope, and he later posted the counts on Facebook for others. The next afternoon, he was looking over a Google spreadsheet with the broken down precinct results and saw different numbers under 4013, the Washington Wells precinct number: 20 extra votes for Romney. Another person later reported an additional six votes for Buddy Roemer, which True said received no votes. He filed the affidavit Thursday.

"If I'm finding vote counts misrepresented, then how do we know that my precinct wasn't the only one?" True says. "It isn't really so much that the winner changes, or who won. The thing is, when you go to cast your vote, your vote is not being counted [right]. Last I knew, that's not the country we live in."

The story was first reported by local Iowa TV station KCCI. True said he heard a spokeswoman with the state's GOP say he had no business talking about the caucus results.

"At a minimum I should be issued some kind of an apology," True says. "I'm trying to do the right thing, say my vote counts, and make sure it's right. Hopefully if anybody else sees inconsistencies, they should speak up as well."

Winning the Iowa caucus — which is the first in the Republican presidential contest — often gives a candidate extra notoriety and momentum moving forward to ultimately gain the party's nomination.

It's "insulting to our status as #1 in the nation, which has already been under question," True says. "We're going to be the first people to come out and have the most attention on us...Our true opinion should be known."

"It shouldn't be a week's worth of media attention given to somebody as the winer of this, when that's false information."

Tami Abdollah can be contacted by email and Twitter (@LATams).

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